With Memorial Day just around the bend, the kick-off to summer is here! If you or someone you know is facing cancer, or even has been through cancer treatment in the past, there are gatherings and retreats for you to also make plans to attend.
I yearn to scream, yet I must hold my breath. Even if I were to open my eyes, I would see nothing. I'm suspended in a vortex that overpowers my senses. I don't know which way is up. I have 45, maybe 60 seconds to figure it out, or I will die.
Cancer patients tend to bond with the pain they've gone through. They identify with their greatest pain because it's also their greatest victory. But you are not the car you drive, you are not how much money you have in the bank, you are not your khakis, and you are not your cancer.
Missing a leg from extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma? A colon from adenocarcinoma? The ability to walk from meningioma on the brain? Well, hate to tell you, but no one is feeling sorry for you. First Descents is here to empower you to begin "outliving it."
Challenged by the river, I learned that the trick to kayaking is the same trick I used to navigate my illness -- you flow. Fighting against the current lands you upside-down, underwater, with your head bouncing against rocks.
For young adults, cancer comes at a time when life is sweet and our awareness of our mortality is the furthest thing from our minds. A host of unique psychosocial challenges make it even more important to seek life, meaning and purpose, to reclaim it from cancer.
I've been sick since I was 10 months old. When I was diagnosed with cancer in college, the trauma of the illness just added another layer to something I already knew. Living your life twice is no easy feat. But that's what I am trying to do.